The 2020-21 Miami Waterkeeper's Junior Ambassador Program application period will open in June 2020.
What is the Junior Ambassador Program?
The Miami Waterkeeper Junior Ambassador program is a year-long program that develops a cohort of high school students into young environmental leaders. Through the Junior Ambassador program, South Florida students become community leaders by gaining an understanding of issues impacting Biscayne Bay and the surrounding watershed, receiving training in civic engagement and advocacy, sharing their acquired knowledge with diverse audiences, and helping to organize interactive volunteer events.
This program helps students become versed in the complex relationship between social, environmental, governmental, and economic issues that are central to cultivating a culture of environmental awareness and advocacy in South Florida, which is relevant worldwide. The program is offered at no cost to participating students, as part of Miami Waterkeeper’s mission.
Why Should I Apply?
As a Miami Waterkeeper Junior Ambassador, students develop personal and professional skills that will help them throughout high school, college, their career, and beyond. The program is specially designed to teach leadership, communication, civic engagement, and advocacy skills that cannot be learned in a classroom. As ambassadors, students:
- Learn about local environmental issues
- Build their resume
- Develop leadership skills
- Improve their public speaking abilities
- Receive advocacy training
- Earn community service hours
- Develop their network through partnerships
- Educate members of their community on important issues
- Gain access to exclusive Miami Waterkeeper events and activities
Junior Ambassadors explore various topic areas through advocacy trainings, meetings, hands-on service projects, and outreach events. These students present on the issues impacting South Florida’s water resources to younger students, community groups, and the general public. Miami Waterkeeper’s Junior Ambassador program runs for one school year. However, ambassadors have the option to extend their participation if they choose. Approximately 20-25 Junior Ambassadors are selected annually. The program consists of eight mandatory advocacy trainings and service events, as well as one final presentation. Participation in the Junior Ambassador program will fulfill the service hours requirement for the Florida Medallion Scholars and Florida Academic Scholars under the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.
Advocacy trainings are mandatory workshops where ambassadors receive training on scientific issues, governmental frameworks, policy objectives, and communication skills. Junior Ambassadors will learn how to give presentations about water resource issues in South Florida at advocacy trainings. The workshops are held throughout South Florida and facilitated by Miami Waterkeeper leadership and staff, covering the following topics:
- Introduction to Miami Waterkeeper & the Junior Ambassador Program
- Environmental Stakeholders in South Florida & Building Community
- Civic Engagement: Using Law, Science, & Policy to Make a Difference
- Communicating Science & Public Speaking Skills
One of the founding pillars of Miami Waterkeeper is community engagement. As such, we expect our Junior Ambassadors to be engaged in the community. Ambassadors will be expected to participate in community service events such as taking part in projects like volunteer beach clean-ups and dune restoration efforts and tabling at environmental fairs, boat shows, fishing tournaments, community festivals, local farmer’s markets, etc.
In addition, Junior Ambassadors must give presentations to educate others about our watershed, why it’s important, and how to protect it, as well as to share the mission of Miami Waterkeeper. Presentations may be made to community groups, after-school clubs, faith-based organizations, sports teams, girl/boy scout troops, nursing homes, other classes in the students’ school, etc.
Who Can Apply?
This program is directed at high school students, grades 9-12, in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
Junior Ambassador Leadership Board
The Junior Ambassador Leadership Board is an alumni-only opportunity for Ambassadors who have completed the program, but still want to stay involved. Leadership Board members will gain valuable near-peer mentoring experience, will guide training activities, and will lead community service events.